News & Resources

The importance of implementing a tenant screening process

May 13, 2011 Matt Roesly

As property owners scope out potential renters, it is vital to their business that they implement a tenant screening process in order to ensure that potentials are qualified to rent a space. Without putting such a process in place, a landlord puts his or herself at risk for renting to an individual who will not keep up with the property or pay the bills. There are several processes that a landlord can implement in the tenant screening process, according to Stock Markets Review, all of which are up for review on the Federal Trade Commission's website. Additionally, the FTC will inform a landlord about what steps to take should an occupant fail to pay rent. It is ill-advised for a landlord to skip the tenant screening process. Instead, one should always look into a potential renter's credit history and criminal background or have a property manager do the digging for you. "The information you have to look up include criminal background, employment history and housing history to ensure that the person you’re renting your property to is healthy for your neighborhood and is capable of paying his monthly dues," the source reported. "When you get to meet him person, you’ll get the chance to verify whether or not the details he wrote down on the application is correct." Occasionally, a candidate may come back as unfit to rent to. This is especially common in New York City, where tenants move in and out of spaces frequently and landlords are notorious for failing to make repairs. Thus, tenants withhold rent and wind up in court - an action that is held against them. According to the website The Real Deal, tenants placed on a backlist are not always there by their own fault. Sometimes, they are allowed to challenge such a listing in an effort to remove themselves from the list, but this doesn't always guarantee that their name - or character - will be clear and that a landlord should be willing to take the risk and rent to them. An important move that property owners should make is to require references from a renter, as former landlords are usually eager to provide information about a poor renter who didn't pay their bills on time. Likewise, if a candidate was an exceptional occupant, they will likely let you know.